Wine of the Week

Pinot from the Anderson Valley Woodlands
Lioco’s La Selva in 2017

Cerise Vineyards from above. Image by Eric Castro.

Followers of Lioco might be interested in several transitions at the winery, especially since they come together in this pretty delicious opportunity. When John Raytek was winemaker here, he had access to a number of vineyards in Anderson Valley for his regional pinot noir blend, La Selva. Raytek stepped down in the spring of 2017; meanwhile, the local vineyard scene has been roiled a bit by changes in ownership, impacting contracts, including one vineyard that had anchored that Anderson Valley blend.

Matt Licklider, the company’s founder, and Kai Kleigl, the cellar master, worked together through crush in 2017, then Drew Huffine joined the team as winemaker in early 2018. So, Huffine inherited the 2017s while they were still being born. Those 2017s included pinot noirs from the Cerise Vineyard, on inland ridges above Boonville, and from Kiser, closer to the Pacific in Anderson Valley’s Deep End. He also inherited a dilemma: what to do about La Selva, without the base of the blend. Licklider wanted to keep that Anderson Valley blend in the market; in the end, he and Huffine decided to declassify two barrels each from their two vineyard designates.

If you look quickly, you might find this clean, rich and oceanic pinot noir for $48, (the two vineyard-designates from which it was selected are selling for $80 as standalones). Taken together, the fruit from those two sites combine in beautiful ways. Huffine used the brisk cherry-skin notes of far-coast pinot to lighten and layer seashell salinity into the bitter-chocolate tannins of inland fruit. It’s a pretty wine, and pretty light in terms of extract and weight, yet it delivers sophisticated flavor depth far beyond its price.


95
Lioco 2017 Anderson Valley La Selva Pinot Noir

Price:
$48


Every week, our editors highlight a wine that intrigued them in our blind panel tastings, expanding on their tasting note in this space. These are entirely editorial choices; there are no paid placements. Subscribers can also access the original tasting note by searching here.